ZF Wind Power Antwerpen NV - High precision and performance gearboxes for onshore and offshore wind turbines

Insight into a Belgium w3.windfair.net member - ZF Technology in Wind Turbines - Innovations of great value

 ZF Technology in Wind Turbines - Innovations of great value ZF Technology in Wind Turbines - Innovations of great value

ZF Wind Power is a globally established designer, manufacturer, and supplier of reliable custom-built gearboxes for multi-megawatt wind turbines with a power capacity ranging from 1.5 to 6.15MW. The new business unit of the ZF Group is the result of a successful integration between two technology leaders. The merger between ZF, one of the world’s leading automotive industry suppliers, and the former Hansen Transmissions, one of the global leaders in wind turbine gearboxes, is propelled by a combination of experience, expertise, efficient production, and innovation.

The business unit (Wind Power Technology of ZF) is an industry leader in the global multi-MW wind turbine gearbox market in terms of MW supplied. ZF Wind Power supplies gearboxes to the major manufacturers of gear-driven wind turbines. These key customers incorporate the company’s highly efficient and reliable gearboxes into multi-MW wind turbines, deployed across the globe in high-profile onshore and offshore wind farm projects.

ZF Wind Power currently operates four state-of-the-art manufacturing plants with an annual output capacity of approximately 10,000 MW. It leaves a global footprint with manufacturing presence in Europe, India, China and the US as well as worldwide sales, service operations and a more than 1,750 strong workforce. Strong R&D operations and partnerships are the backup of ZF to maintain its technological leadership.

The ZF Services (Wind) division stands for customer-oriented and flexible service of wind turbine gearboxes and has designed specific solutions for repairs, maintenance and upgrades, on site or in our well-equipped workshops all over the world.

The business unit Wind Power Technology of ZF is part of the division Industrial Technology. ZF itself is a leading worldwide automotive supplier for Driveline and Chassis Technology with 121 production companies in 27 countries. ZF employs a workforce of approximately 72,000 employees; thereof, 40,000 employees are working in Germany. In 2011, the Group achieved a sales figure of more than EUR 15.5 billion. ZF was founded in 1915 and is among the top 10 companies on the ranking list of the largest automotive suppliers worldwide. ZF’s shareholders are the Zeppelin Foundation, administered by the City of Friedrichshafen, holding 93.8 percent of company shares, and the Dr.-Jürgen-Ulderup Foundation, Lemförde, with 6.2 percent.

Manufacturing excellence: combining skill and precision

Producing multi-megawatt gearboxes efficiently in serial production, with a consistent high level of quality and reliability, requires excellence in manufacturing, logistics, assembly and testing. (Wind turbines have become more powerful during the last decade, moving from kilowatt products, with a typical gearbox weight of 3-5 tonnes, to large multi-megawatt gearboxes weighing 15–50 tonnes and more.) In order to serve the worldwide multi-megawatt market and deliver these products with high precision and consistent quality, ZF Wind Power continues to invest in research & development, manufacturing and testing & validation capabilities which are factors essential to the company’s success.  

ZF Wind Power invests in its core activities such as heat treatment, gear grinding and housing machining in order to ensure that all critical activities are performed in-house, allowing the company to have full control over quality to meet its customers’ requirements.  

It is ZF’s ability to perform these essential manufac­turing and support activities in-house, using dedicated and fully integrated production facilities, and building on almost 100 years of transmission experience including more than 30 years in wind energy. This enables the company to globally supply the major manufacturers of gear driven wind turbines.

Its global presence will enable the company to build on its strong track record and existing customer relationships, creating new business opportunities to deliver cost-effective, high quality and innovative products, for global customers as well as locally based wind energy businesses.  

Total reliability: maximum return on investment

Investment in wind power needs to go hand in hand with reliability in order to ensure the required return on investment. ZF Wind Power’s products offer this reliability based on a combination of low lifetime cost, high availability and minimum down­time.

ZF Wind Power drive train solutions are optimized for low weight, robustness and compact size, without compromising per­formance, resulting in cost-effective designs with superior reliability. Up-time and availability of spare parts is a crucial requirement to ensure total reliability. To increase the reliability of its products even further, ZF’s Service division is increasing its offering in the areas of spare parts, gearboxes and on-site support.

Technological innovation: delivering customer solutions

The trend towards larger and more powerful turbines in recent years has led to the development of larger and more powerful wind turbine gearboxes with increased capacity. Working in close cooperation with its customers, often co-developing and co-designing, ZF Wind Power continues to develop larger and more integrated gearboxes with customized features. At the heart of its testing capabilities is one of the world’s largest dynamic test rigs with a capacity of 13.2 MW, capable of carrying out Highly Accelerated Life Testing (HALT).  

ZF Wind Power’s current wind turbine gearboxes are tailor-made for multi-megawatt wind turbines in a power range of between 1.5 and 6.15 MW. Alongside its current offering, the company is developing gearboxes with capacity of up to 7 MW.  

The future: focus on reliability and service

In this rapidly growing market segment, the company continues to focus on developing innovative and highly reliable products, applying the necessary skills, resources and technologies. ZF Wind Power will continue to develop multi-megawatt products for both onshore and offshore applications, to further increase the standards of reliability and to expand the offering to meet top-of-the-range service expectations.  

By placing a continued emphasis on reliability and availability, the company will take significant actions to continue to improve its service offering, including the availability of spare parts, repair, upgrade and new gear units as well as on-site assistance.  

With ZF Wind Power’s state-of-the-art production facilities around the globe and its unrivalled testing and validation capabilities, the company will set out to satisfy customer’s requirements building on its solid track record in the multi-megawatt wind turbine gearbox segment. ZF Wind Power is ready to make the difference.

Please take a look at a short film offered on the company's website: Video: ZF and the wind business

ZF Wind Power Antwerpen NV
Posted by Trevor Sievert, Online Editorial Journalist

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